Receiving a job rejection email can feel a bit like someone telling you they’d rather “be friends” after a great first date. You’re left with thoughts like “was it something I said?” or “but I thought we had a real connection,” and often no real answers as to why it did not work out.
As much as you try to shrug it off in front of friends and family—let’s face it—getting rejected kind of sucks. And when rejections repeatedly happen after many job interview attempts, it certainly affects one’s mental and emotional health.
You may start to feel lousy about yourself and your abilities or feel like you want to give up. That’s why keeping a healthy perspective about job rejection is so important. It can be detrimental to your overall job hunting process—or worse—negatively impact your self-esteem in the long run.
Here are some tips on how to keep your mental health, spirit, and overall wellness intact while moving on from an unsuccessful job application.
Accept the tough feelings. We often tell ourselves that it’s silly to feel sad, embarrassed, disappointed, or angry. But remember that you’re entitled to feel however you’re feeling. Trying to ignore or suppress it can often lead you to feel worse. When we accept and acknowledge how we’re feeling, it usually makes it easier to cope with it. So go ahead and tell a trusted friend about the experience or write about it in your journal if that’s your thing.
See it as a learning experience. At some point in time in your life as a student, a teacher or mentor would have said something along the lines of “your real learning begins after you’ve graduated to…” Well, they were right. And it takes place right from the get-go at the job interview stage.
Once you’ve gone for a few interviews, you’ll start to realise how much skill goes into the whole process. Figuring out how to market your skill set, presenting yourself well, communicating effectively, and negotiating for pay are all things they don’t teach you in college. So the only time you’ll get to practice is by jumping in the deep end.
As part of your learning, you might want to ask the interviewer why it is they chose another candidate over you. You might be surprised how much you can learn from the feedback if you can get it. Be open to learning from the criticism and improve on it for your next interview.
Don’t take it personally. Last but not least, remember not to take things too personally. The interviewer is assessing your working style, and whether your skill set fits whatever is lacking in their company’s current needs. They’re not assessing you as a person.
You can’t be everything to everyone. So, of course, there will be some company profiles that aren’t suited to you. Perhaps you’re the type of person that needs more feedback and supervision for your work, but the company is unable to provide that. If they had hired you, it might have become a big disaster. When you look back at the experience, you may come to realise that the interviewer was actually doing you a favor.
The more interviews you go for, the better you’ll get at it. Fresh graduates often have to attend many interviews before landing their first job, and that’s fine. Just remember that the real failure is only when you don’t try at all.
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